“Since we had to wait ten minutes for our table, I thought you might want to give us something for free. Ha, I reckon it doesn’t hurt to ask, huh?”
Yes. It does. From youngish Yelp-ers convinced that a yap and a laptop are the sole requisites for being a food critic to kvetching cane-bangers, self-entitlement and depravity have dredged to an all-time low in the higher ends of the restaurant world.
It’s no longer enough to be just a place to dine anymore: restaurants are now expected to provide a bevy of bifocals to patrons glaring askance when their prescriptions cannot be promptly procured (“Then you’ll just have to read the entire menu to me!”), as well as iPhone chargers, laptop connections, “just a little extra steak for our fondue,” and even heartsick pleas for black napkins (“I might get white lint on me! My God, there’s a white tablecloth here!”).
Such are the pseudo-hardships for diners who rush home to pepper their online critiques with the breezily banal (“Soooo yummy! LOL!”), to the curious (“The manager was too Italian.”), to the cruel (“…our waitress had breasts like dirty tennis balls.”), to tales of soul-numbing humiliation for having to actually speak (“We had to ask for more bread! Imagine!”).
Bringing your own food to restaurants and expecting it to be served to you free of charge has become increasingly commonplace — from Snapple iced teas, to pasta (“Just throw some red sauce on it.”), to Carvel sheet cakes, to Starbucks, to the most flagrant offender of all: cupcakes.
We now live in a time when tiny cakes with dildos atop them aren’t just being passed around under plastic brass chandeliers in trailer parks; finer restaurants are now expected to serve these cock-topped confections to belligerent bachelorettes. Frequently, when refused, the girls-night-outers hobble like deer running on thumbtacks to the ladies’ room, scarf down a fistful of powdery cake, who then with icing-covered acrylic nails, clack out a rant on their Blackberrys.
From the veiled to blatant threats of posting an online review (“By God, you’d better watch out! I’m a member of Zagat!”) to screaming mothers gesticulating with full diapers in their hands that someone needs to “Go get Britney!,” the rise of dining-room barbarism has ballooned beyond belief. By the way, if you were wondering what the membership requirements are to become a Zagat voter, I’ll tell you: Fingers.
So, what happened? Simply put, it’s the Internet. Sites like Yelp, OpenTable, UrbanSpoon, et al have given voice to those who should have remained mute. People with passwords have now turned the dining rooms of New York’s best eateries into little more than playgrounds for bullying bogus gourmands.
Consider these tales as food for thought when soliciting strangers’ advice on where to dine: There’s a good chance that the last review you clicked on was written on the toilet by a piss-drunk partier with a gobful of jellybean-crusted cupcake.
And don’t just take what they say with a grain of salt — take the entire bag and beat the living hell out of them with it.